Cold Water Wash is Hot

Cold Water LaundryWhen it comes to saving energy, cold is gaining rock star status. Cold water laundry, that is. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer goes to heat the water. Getting out of hot water can save you money -- as much as $70 a year on your energy bill. In addition to saving money, you'll also help lower carbon emissions! Most experts -- including many Seventh Generation Nation members who do their families' laundry -- report that cold water is great for regular loads, with hot or warm water wash reserved for oily or other stubborn stains. "Cold water saves energy, but it's also more gentle on clothes and onesies," says one Nation member, a new mom. "I've noticed that clothes hold their color better and last longer when I wash in cold." Many laundry detergent makers, including Seventh Generation, offer products that work in both cold and warm/hot water. Here are some other energy-saving laundry tips:

  • Wash full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • When buying a washing machine, look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels. ENERGY STAR clothes washers clean clothes using 50% less energy than standard washers. Most full-sized ENERGY STAR washers use 15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 32.5 gallons used by a new standard machine. ENERGY STAR models also spin the clothes better, resulting in less drying time.
  • Use shorter cycle settings when possible.

Do you have a cold water laundry tip to share? We'd love to hear it!